Consumer Beware

How To Avoid Hotel Reservation Disaster

hotel reservation tips, hotel disaster story, hotel reservation advice

As we drove north through Alabama on our way home from a week long vacation in Alabama, my wife picked up her phone to call the hotel where we were staying that night and confirm our reservation. What was supposed to be a short and simple phone call, turned out exposing a problem with the room we had booked.

When my wife had booked the room using our usual tried and true method to get the best rate possible, she was unable to get a room with two queen sized beds to accommodate her, I, and our teenage son. There were several other events occurring in the area, and the hotel was near capacity. We were able to get a king bed and a roll away bed reserved through the hotel chain’s national reservation line.

We thought our hotel reservation fulfilled all our needs.

When my wife called the hotel directly to verify our reservation, they were able to confirm we had a room booked that evening. However, when she asked the hotel representative if our reservation contained any notes about a roll away, she was told that the hotel didn’t have roll away beds as the rooms were not large enough.

Without a roll away bed, the bed would not accommodate my family.

When our problem was communicated to the representative, my wife was put on hold. When the representative returned, she offered my wife an upgrade to a room with two king sized beds for a nominal $7 extra, plus breakfast in the morning.

We got a great deal on a room upgrade.

This isn’t the first time we’ve had a problem making a reservation through a hotel chain’s reservation line. Hotel chains have reservation lines to centralize the booking of rooms, but agents don’t necessarily have all the right information about each local hotel.

When making a hotel reservation, you should always call the actual hotel shortly before your date of arrival to verify:

  • Your reservation exists for the correct date
  • The room details (beds, rooms, view, included brreakfast) are correct
  • Any special requirements, such as a roll away bed or fold out couch.

By calling ahead of time potential problems can be identified and corrected before you arrive. We cut it a little close by calling hours before we would check-in, but luckily we were able to resolve our issue.

Do you call to verify your hotel reservation prior to arrival? Have you ever discovered and resolved an issue by doing so?

Brought to you courtesy of Brock

About the author

Brock Kernin


  • Yeah, probably not a bad idea at all. Good that they worked with you. We had a situation where we booked a room that included a hot tub, only to get there and be told that our room most certainly did not include a hot tub. They were rude about it and even said “Yeah, we’d never offer a room with a hot tub for that low” and even when I showed them the printed reservation, they refused to honor it, telling me I had to take it up with corporate.

    • Wow, that’s a bunch of crap – especially when you had a printed reservation. That’d be the last time I stayed at that hotel…..

  • I’m still a fan of AirBnB, though I will say the amenities tend to vary even more there from their descriptions than with hotels. I’ve been to some great Airbnbs, and then some okay ones that didn’t really meet expectations. And I feel bad complaining with an Airbnb, since it’s usually not really a “business.” So, there are definitely advantages to traditional hotels in this regard!

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